BCS Adds Coding Classes at All Middle Schools
BCS Adds Coding Classes at All Middle Schools
Posted on 11/30/2017
Project Lead the Way teacher Kathryn Bradley teaches a Girls Who Code club at Clyde A. Erwin Middle School.Buncombe County Schools’ focus on STEM education just got a big boost!

Thanks to a generous grant from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), BCS will provide coding classes in all of our middle schools starting in the upcoming spring semester. The grant also will pay for professional development, the purchase of new equipment, and numerous career awareness activities to strengthen pathways and connect middle and high school programs.

"This grant will assist us with resources and career awareness opportunities to help our students understand this new and exciting world,” said Christy Cheek, BCS director of Career and Technical Education.“As technology continues to change and the demand for coding and coders increases, this grant will assist us with resources and career awareness opportunities to help our students understand this new and exciting world,” said Christy Cheek, BCS director of Career and Technical Education.

Project Lead the Way teacher Kathryn Bradley leads a Girls Who Code club at Clyde A. Erwin Middle School. The club provides a framework for teaching computer science and developing a community support system for young women who are interested in science, she said. Her students learn about coding and propose apps and other digital tools to combat big problems like bullying, homelessness, and overcrowded animal shelters.

“The kids are really eager to learn these things,” Bradley said. “As a woman who’s really engaged in STEM, it’s important to spread that, especially to girls.”

Members of the Girls Who Code club at Clyde A. Erwin Middle School discuss ideas for an app.STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is one of BCS superintendent Dr. Tony Baldwin’s four key priorities. Students who become prepared for STEM careers will have more opportunities in an increasingly competitive and high-tech workforce. BCS aims to increase student, educator, and institutional achievement in STEM fields while strengthening community support and buy-in.

After rolling out the coding classes, BCS plans to add app development classes to all seven middle schools by the beginning of 2019 so our students have opportunities to gain deeper computer science understanding.

“It’s really exciting,” Cheek said. “This will give our middle schoolers a leg up as they prepare for high school computer science and IT classes.”

Fifteen districts and charter schools across the state were awarded grants totaling $400,000 via the new Coding and Mobile App Development Grant Program from NCDPI. The grants, which range from $10,000 to $40,000, support partnerships with local businesses to help schools develop computer science, coding and mobile app development programs for middle and high school students. Members of the Asheville Buncombe Madison Career Pathways Consortium share a $40,000 grant. To find out more, click here.
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